Belmont High School (Belmont, Massachusetts)

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Belmont High School
Bhs logo.png
Belmont High School, Belmont MA.jpg
Main Entrance
Address
221 Concord Avenue
New England
Belmont, MA, Middlesex County, 02478
USA
Information
School type Public
Established 1865 (OS),[1] 1970 (NS)
Superintendent Thomas Kingston
Principal Daniel Richards
Assistant principals Jim Brown, Carol Cohen
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1162 (2009)
Color(s) Maroon      and Blue     
Mascot Marauder
Team name Belmont High School Marauders
Average SAT scores 603 verbal
627 math
605 writing (2010)[2]
Newspaper Highpoint
Website

Belmont High School is a four-year public high school in Belmont, Massachusetts. It was built in 1970 at a cost of $9 million. The school had 1,183 students enrolled and a student/teacher ratio of 17:1 in the 2013-14 school year.[citation needed]

The school is built on an old landfill and is situated next to Clay Pit Pond. The town's high school used to be located on Orchard Street, but was badly damaged by fire in the late 1960s. A new school was eventually built at the current location on Concord Ave. The address of the school is 221 Concord Ave. Belmont, MA. [3]The previous high school re-opened as the Roger Wellington elementary school in 1972, and was entirely demolished in February–March 2010 for reconstruction.

In 2009, US News gave Belmont High School a gold medal and named it the 100th best non-private high school in the United States and the second best in the state of Massachusetts.[4]

Administration and faculty[edit]

The school administration consists of the principal, Mr. Daniel Richards, and two assistant principals, Jim Brown and Carol Cohen.[5] In recent years, the school administration has experienced frequent changes.

In June 2004, the school's long-time principal, Foster Wright, decided to retire. Jonathan Landman was hired to replace him, but the school department did not renew Landman's contract for the 2006-2007 school year. Michael Harvey, who had been among the candidates for principal in 2004, was selected as an "interim principal" for the 2006-07 school year, and, on 10 January 2007, was approved by the town as principal. He had been the Director of Social Studies during the previous school-year. In addition, one of the school's two assistant principals has left the system in June 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, and 2011. In 2012, when Principal Dr. Michael Harvey left to become a Superintendent, ex-assistant-principal Mr. Daniel Richards took his place. Mr. Richards had spent his last year as the Principal of Melrose High, and had been replaced by Mr. David Smokler. When Richards returned, Smokler kept his position temporarily before being permanently replaced by the Head of Guidance, Mr. Jim Brown.[6]

The school has eight academic departments: Mathematics, English, Foreign Language, Social Studies, Science, Fine and Performing Arts, and Athletics. Each department consists of a department head, along with the teachers of the courses the department offers. The Guidance Department is responsible for the mental well-being of students, schedule composition, and college planning. Each student is assigned to a guidance counselor.

School hours and schedule[edit]

School is in session each day between 7:35 am and 2:25 pm except for Wednesdays, which conclude at 1:25 pm.

Belmont High School operates on a non-traditional module-based schedule. There are 15 modules ("mods") each day, each of which is approximately 25 minutes long. There are also blocks of "pass time" between most mods, which are usually 3 minutes in length, and are meant to give students time to walk from one class to another.

Each mod is named with a letter and a number. The letter corresponds the time of the mod (A is the earliest and spans 7:35-7:59. O is the latest, and spans 2:00-2:25). The number corresponds to the day, with Monday being 1 and Friday being 5. Thus, for example, C3 is the time period 8:27-8:52 on Wednesdays.

Most classes meet four times per week for three 2-mod sessions (a "double") and one 3-mod session (a "triple"). The day that the class does not meet is called a "drop". On Wednesdays, school is dismissed at 1:25 for most students, meaning that only 13 mods are held, with the last two mods of the day being "free" for teacher meetings. Additionally, all classes are shortened by a few minutes to compensate for the fact that the mod usually ends at 1:33, not 1:25.

As a result of this mod schedule, each student's schedule is unique to the classes he or she is taking. Students who do not have a class assigned during a mod are "free". Seniors are permitted, by school policy, to leave campus during this time if they have met the required criteria for the privilege. Juniors also have access to this policy, however only on their second semester. While no classes are scheduled for only one mod, it is possible to have only one mod free. A student who takes six classes will have 20 free mods per week, while those who take Wellness I or Positive Decision Making will have 16 free mods per week.

A student's schedule is based on a master schedule, which states when certain mods have triples, drops, etc. As a result, it is fairly easy to describe one's schedule using a list of variations from the master schedule.[7]

Courses and graduation requirements[edit]

The school requires that all students complete:

  • 4 years of English
  • 4 years of Mathematics
  • 4 years of Science
  • 3 years of Social Studies
  • 2 years of Foreign Language
  • 1 year of Fine and Performing Art
  • 4 years of Physical Education and Health

A number of Advanced Placement (AP), or college-level class are offered to prepare the students for the AP exams in May. Based on the results of its AP exams, Belmont High School is, as of December 2008, on the U.S. News & World Report list of the top 100 high schools in the United States. It occupies the lofty #100 position on that list, and holds the second-highest ranking of any Massachusetts school on the list, behind the Boston Latin School, the oldest public school in the nation, and the highest ranking of any Massachusetts school that does not require an entrance exam.[8]

English[edit]

As of 2007-08, all students are required to take an English course each year. Based on grade, the student may take English 9, English 10, English 11, and either English 12 or AP English Literature. English 9-12 are offered at college preparatory (CP) or honors (H) levels.

In the past, Belmont High School has, instead of English 12H, offered two humanities classes in place of English 12 and other English electives, although these are no longer offered.

Social Studies[edit]

All students are required to take World History, Modern World History, and American Studies, all of which are offered at either a college preparatory (CP) or honors (H) level. Students can replace Modern World History with AP European History, and can also replace American Studies with AP United States History. Electives such as AP Economics, You and the Law, and Facing History are also offered to interested students. In addition, the Social Studies department also offers AP Psychology, which is a "double class". Students who take AP Psychology are required to take an honors level Neurobiology course as well.

Mathematics[edit]

All students are required to take 4 math courses. Most students take, in order, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-calculus, and Calculus, though some students elect other options including:

  • Retaking Algebra I during their first year and ending with Pre-calculus.
  • Studying Geometry during middle school, Calculus during the junior year of high school, and participating in an independent study (typically a course at the Harvard Extension School) during their senior year.
  • Substituting either Calculus or Pre-calculus with Finance and Business or Advance Topics in Mathematics.

In addition, the Mathematics Department also offers several electives, such as Finance and Business and AP Statistics.

Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-calculus are offered at either a college preparatory (CP) or honors (H) level. Algebra I and all electives are only offered as CP classes. Calculus is offered at three levels: one CP class and two classes to prepare students for either the AP Calculus AB exam or the AP Calculus BC exam.

Science[edit]

All students are required to take, in order, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, all of which are offered as CP and honors courses, and, in the case of Biology, AP in the first year. In addition, students must take at least one elective. Potential electives include AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Physics B, Astronomy, Design and Technology, and AP Psychology / Neurobiology.

Foreign Language[edit]

Two years of foreign language are required, though many students opt to take more. Students may take courses in Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, French, or Latin. Independent studies may also be offered in German. Exchange programs exist to Argentina, France, and Italy.

Fine and Performing Arts[edit]

Belmont High School offers many fine and performing arts courses. This includes many choirs, the wind ensemble, the symphonic band, string orchestra, the chamber orchestra, the jazz band, and the marching band. Many of the members of these ensembles are nationally recognized musicians, and the ensembles themselves have won extensive state and country-wide competitions. It is known as one of the top 100 public school music programs in the country. While it does not currently have any theatre classes due to budgetary issues, Belmont High School has a strong theatre program in the form of an after school extra-curricular program known as the Performing Arts Company (PAC). In addition, a vigorous AP Art program gives student artists an opportunity to develop their talents and study new techniques. Fine art courses include Drawing and Painting, Sculpture, Photo, and Ceramics.

Physical Education[edit]

All students are required to take the full-year, two semester Wellness I during their freshman year, which is both a traditional PE class and a health/sex-ed class (parents can exclude their children from the sex-ed classes if they so chose). Additionally, students must take Positive Decision Making during their junior year, which is only a one semester class. During their remaining years at school, students are required to fulfill two semesters of PE, which they can obtain either by playing a school-offered sport, joining certain clubs, taking Wellness II, or doing PE outside of school. All non-school-offered PE activities require a "contract" with the Athletics Department.

Extracurricular activities and sports[edit]

Sports[edit]

Belmont High School is part of the Middlesex League and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.

The school colors are maroon and blue. The school mascot is the Marauder.

The high school's athletic department offers 28 sports with 57 levels of competition:

Fall sports[edit]

  • Cheerleading (V)
  • Cross country - boys, girls (V, JV)
  • Field hockey (V, JV, F)
  • Football (V, JV, F)
  • Golf (V)
  • Soccer—boys, girls (V, JV, F)
  • Swimming—girls (V, JV)
  • Volleyball—girls (V, JV, F)

Winter sports[edit]

  • Basketball - boys, girls (V, JV, F)
  • Ice hockey - boys, girls (V, JV)
  • Skiing - boys, girls (V, JV)
  • Swimming - boys (V, JV)
  • Indoor track - boys, girls (V, JV)
  • Wrestling (V, JV)

Spring sports[edit]

  • Baseball (V, JV, F)
  • Lacrosse - boys, girls (V, JV)
  • Softball (V, JV, F)
  • Spring track - boys, girls (V, JV)
  • Tennis - boys, girls (V, JV)

Clubs[edit]

The clubs range from various science clubs to theatrical organizations and civil rights groups, as well as various hobby enthusiasts [2]. The majority of students participate in at least one or more clubs throughout the school year, as there are many types of clubs that appeal to different preferences. For example, some sports clubs include soccer club and a strength training club. While other clubs are more academically-oriented, such as math team, science team, and debate team. There is also a computer science club.

Clubs are usually started (or at least led) by students, with a staff member serving as an advisor.

In the spring of 2011, the Belmont Rugby Football Club (BRFC) won the Division 2 Massachusetts High School Rugby State Championship.[9]

Luau scandal[edit]

During a Hawaiian themed dance in the spring of 2005, several severely intoxicated students were transported to local hospitals as a result of alcohol poisoning.[10] The dance was prematurely ended and ignited a heated debate amongst school officials and students about future policies regarding school functions. Since the Luau scandal, the Belmont High School administration, spearheaded by then-principal Dr. Jonathan Landman, made a concerted effort to crack down on student drug and alcohol use at school events. In May 2008, students attending prom were made to walk the aisle of an auditorium with their respective dates while the Belmont public looked on, a procession known as promenade.[11] As a continuation of this crackdown, all school dances, with the exception of the semi-formal and prom, were canceled by administration for the 2008-2009 school year.

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Belmont High School website, belmont.ki12.ma.us/bhs/info.html, accessed 2007.
  2. ^ "SAT Performance Report - School and District Profiles: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education". Profiles.doe.mass.edu. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  3. ^ http://www.belmont.k12.ma.us/bhs/directions/
  4. ^ Belmont High: Best High Schools, usnews.com, accessed 2009.
  5. ^ "Welcome to the Belmont High School Web Site. Belmont Public Schools, Massachusetts". Belmont.k12.ma.us. 2014-01-15. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  6. ^ Tucker, Franklin (2012-06-14). "Welcome Back: Richards Named New Belmont High Principal - Schools - Belmont, MA Patch". Belmont.patch.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  7. ^ "Belmont High School Web Site. Mode Schedule". Belmont.k12.ma.us. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  8. ^ "Best High Schools Rankings | Top High Schools". US News. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  9. ^ "Club History". Belmont High School Rugby. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ http://www.belmont.k12.ma.us/bhs/newsletters/March2008.pdf
  12. ^ BHS Class of '81 Website, bhsclass81.net, accessed 2007.
  13. ^ An Iron Man with Local Roots, www.boston.com, accessed 2007.
  14. ^ Men of Mystery, www.providencephoenix.com, accessed 2007.
  15. ^ The Pioneering Patty Shea, ncaasports.com, accessed 2006.
  16. ^ Official Website www.emilycook.com, accessed 2007.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°23′42.5″N 71°9′53.6″W / 42.395139°N 71.164889°W / 42.395139; -71.164889